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    Sleepy Lambs Sleep Tips & More!

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01/03/2017

Recurring Night Wake-Ups? Constant feeding overnight?

Recurring Night Wake-Ups? Constant feeding overnight?

Does this sound familiar? Your little one wakes up about the same time every night? Perhaps they seem hungry or perhaps it’s just a wake-up and reassurance to get back to sleep. For many parents it’s really frustrating because they’re sure their little one could sleep so much better. AND, perhaps they can!

These wake-ups are frequently known as habitual wake-ups. Your little one may be in the habit of waking up at a certain time or even hungry at a certain time.

How do I know that the wake-up is a habit?

Great question! Here’s a checklist to see if the wake-up may be a habit.

  • The wake-up(s) are at approximately the same time and have been that way for a while
  • You wouldn’t expect your little one to be hungry
  • They are difficult to settle back to sleep or absolutely won’t go back to sleep without a feed

I never suggest rushing to drop a feed!

Okay, before I start getting hate mail saying that babies do need feeding in the night, I completely agree. I never suggest rushing to drop a night feed. This advice definitely doesn’t apply if you have a newborn or for most babies under six months. IF the feed is a habit and your baby or toddler is feeding because they’re very used to feeding at the same time every night, I have a gentle way to eliminate it WITHOUT tears. It’s extremely effective. It works over a period of 5-7 days.

I should note that I’m not a fan of replacing a feed with water OR just letting your little one cry, especially when there is a much more effective method that doesn’t result in any tears. AND, if it turns out your little one is still hungry, you will know it and there’s no harm done!

Have a look and give it a try!

 


Meet Mary!

Mary Foster is a certified sleep consultant and founder of Sleepy Lambs Sleep Consulting and the popular Sleepy Lambs Sleep Academy. She has an amazing husband and they had 3 little ones in 3 years (along with an international move at 7 months pregnant with #3, which just means she’s a little crazy and adventurous). Their little “lambs” keep her busy, with their oldest newly 6, their middle one almost 5 and their youngest almost 3.

Mary is Canadian and is based in Surrey, UK, near the Hampshire and Berkshire border. She has supported hundreds of families in 11 countries. Mary’s unique approach is always holistic and focuses on emotional wellness, always respectful of parenting choices. Click here to send her an email.

13/02/2017

My Baby Wakes EVERY 45 Minutes Overnight and Ready to Start the Day at 3 a.m.!

I’m exhausted for Rachel. Her little one is waking up every 45 minutes overnight and seems to have a lot more energy at 3 a.m. than she does or she should. That lack of sleep can really take a toll after a while. It’s hard to enjoy parenting when it’s hard to see straight. Many parents I meet describe themselves as walking zombies. They may look normal on the outside but struggling to feel like themselves or human on the inside.

Babies DO Wake!

First off, it’s important to know that babies do wake in the night. We all do. It’s a myth that babies sleep through. We all have sleep cycles and at the end of a sleep cycle, we come to a partial wake-up.  As adults, we may roll over, adjust our blanket, move our pillow and be completely unaware of waking. We go back into our sleep cycle and *hopefully* sleep undisturbed. As adults, we do this every 90-120 minutes. Babies do the exact same thing except their sleep cycles are shorter, typically 40-60 minutes. Often, when a baby wakes up or rouses at the end of a sleep cycle, they struggle to get back to sleep or are looking for the same way to get back to sleep as they did when they fell asleep in the first place.

Answering YOUR Sleep Questions

Every week, I receive dozens of your sleep questions and I do my best to answer one every week. If you have a sleep question you would like answered, just submit it here and I’ll do my best to answer it soon!

 

Meet Mary!

Mary Foster is a certified sleep consultant and founder of Sleepy Lambs Sleep Consulting and the popular Sleepy Lambs Sleep Academy. She has an amazing husband and they had 3 little ones in 3 years (along with an international move at 7 months pregnant with #3, which just means she’s a little crazy and adventurous). Their little “lambs” keep her busy, with their oldest newly 6, their middle one almost 5 and their youngest almost 3.

Mary is Canadian and is based in Surrey, UK, near the Hampshire and Berkshire border. She has supported hundreds of families in 11 countries. Mary’s unique approach is always holistic and focuses on emotional wellness, always respectful of parenting choices. Click here to send her an email.

13/02/2017

Could My 9-Month-Old’s Schedule Cause His Night Wake-Up’s?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about parenting, it’s that as soon as you think you’ve got something under control or figured out, a different challenge pops up. It’s certainly been that way for me, and it seems to be that way for all of the families I’ve worked with.  This week I’m answering a question from Ruth, wondering if her little one’s latest regression and night wake-ups is due to their sleep schedule.

Schedules are SO Important!

When I work with families, before we even have our initial meeting, I have them record sleep, feeding and more for at least 3 to 4 days.  In addition to a detailed questionnaire, completing these sleep logs on an app called Baby Connect, really gives me insight to their 24-hour day as well as the impact on sleep. The timing of sleep tells me SO much.  If a baby or child is overtired, their body produces stress hormones, causing them to fight sleep, sleep more restlessly and wake up sooner.  At the same time, if a baby isn’t tired enough, it’s hard to go to sleep too. Finding the right balance is important.

As I answer Ruth’s question, it’s entirely possible that her 9-month-old’s schedule is contributing to the night wake-ups.  Watch the quick video below to learn more!  And, if you have a sleep question, feel free to submit it here.  I publish answers to your newborn, baby, or toddler sleep questions every Monday.


Meet Mary!

Mary Foster is a certified sleep consultant and founder of Sleepy Lambs Sleep Consulting and the popular Sleepy Lambs Sleep Academy. She has an amazing husband and they had 3 little ones in 3 years (along with an international move at 7 months pregnant with #3, which just means she’s a little crazy and adventurous). Their little “lambs” keep her busy, with their oldest newly 6, their middle one almost 5 and their youngest almost 3.

Mary is Canadian and is based in Surrey, UK, near the Hampshire and Berkshire border. She has supported hundreds of families in 11 countries. Mary’s unique approach is always holistic and focuses on emotional wellness, always respectful of parenting choices. Click here to send her an email.

06/02/2017

Answering YOUR Sleep Questions – My Baby Will ONLY Fall Asleep If I…

It’s a common sleep challenge for parents. Your sweet baby will only fall asleep if you… (insert action here) hold, rock, feed, drive, jiggle, bounce in order to get to sleep.

First off, if it’s working for you, there’s absolutely NO problem with it.

You can read on to find something else that’s challenging for you. I know I certainly loved those pre-sleep cuddles with my little ones. I could nurse my youngest to sleep and she would sleep well and for long stretches. Other babies need more help to fall asleep and when they naturally wake up in the night (which we ALL naturally do. “Sleeping through” is a myth), they are looking for that same help to get back to sleep.

There’s one caveat, of course. If you have a newborn, it’s normal and expected that they need that help, so don’t sweat it or worry that you’re creating bad habits. You’re not.

Sometimes, however, the holding, rocking, feeding to sleep can start to take a LONG time (think HOURS instead of minutes) and babies need more and more help to get to sleep and it’s still a struggle. Two hours of rocking or bouncing can be difficult with other children who need attention or to get to bed, or can create back injuries, and may need to be repeated for wake-ups in the night. A family I recently helped was rocking their young toddler a total of 7.5 hours a day to get to sleep and getting him to fall asleep was still a struggle. If it becomes a problem for you, then there are solutions and they don’t need to involve sleep training. We didn’t use traditional sleep training for that little toddler and he falls asleep on his own and sleeps well every night and nap now.

This Week’s Question

This week’s sleep question is from Kate and she asks about her 12-month-old, who needs to be held to sleep and wakes as soon as she puts her down. She also just doesn’t like sleeping in her cot.

I’ve got a few tricks for her to help with this process!  Find out more by watching below!

Got a sleep question?

I answer a sleep question every Monday. Submit yours here!


Meet Mary!

Mary Foster is a certified sleep consultant and founder of Sleepy Lambs Sleep Consulting and the popular Sleepy Lambs Sleep Academy. She has an amazing husband and they had 3 little ones in 3 years (along with an international move at 7 months pregnant with #3, which just means she’s a little crazy and adventurous). Their little “lambs” keep her busy, with their oldest newly 6, their middle one almost 5 and their youngest almost 3.

Mary is Canadian and is based in Surrey, UK, near the Hampshire and Berkshire border. She has supported hundreds of families in 11 countries. Mary’s unique approach is always holistic and focuses on emotional wellness, always respectful of parenting choices. Click here to send her an email.

16/01/2017

Answering YOUR Sleep Questions – January 16, 2017

Happy Monday!

If you have more than one child, you’re probably aware that each child can be SO different. I often work with families who have one child who is an amazing sleeper and another who really struggles. It really shows you that each child is their own unique person, born with their own temperament.

Every Monday, I will be posting a new video, answering YOUR sleep questions. This week’s question is from Cat, who has two toddlers. Her older toddler is a great sleeper, getting 11 hours every night. Her younger one isn’t keen on sleep in the evening.

Toddler sleep can be a challenge, especially when they transition naps. Moving from two naps to one nap can bring all new sleep challenges and it’s very easy to become overtired.

Here are a few suggestions to help Cat. They may help your little one sleep better too!

Do you have a sleep challenge? I’d love to help you out! Submit your sleep question here and be sure to check back on the blog or our Facebook page every Monday for answers.


Meet Mary!

Mary Foster is a certified sleep consultant and founder of Sleepy Lambs Sleep Consulting and the popular Sleepy Lambs Sleep Academy. She had 3 little ones in 3 years (along with an international move at 7 months pregnant with #3, which just means she’s a little crazy and adventurous). Her little “lambs” keep her busy, with her oldest just turned 6, middle one almost 5 and the youngest is almost 3.

Mary is Canadian and is based in Surrey, UK, near the Hampshire and Berkshire border. She has supported hundreds of families in 11 countries. Mary’s unique approach is always holistic and focuses on emotional wellness, always respectful of parenting choices. Click here to send her an email.

09/01/2017

Baby sleep challenges often continue in the toddler years

It’s a common misconception that sleep challenges are confined to the baby years. If you’re the sleep-deprived parent of a baby, it’s hard to imagine it could get more challenging. The reality is, it can. (Sorry! I know it may not be what you want to hear right now.)  Toddler sleep problems frequently have different causes than baby sleep challenges and the approach to improved sleep is ENTIRELY different.

Baby sleep challenges frequently turn into toddler challenges

Babies frequently don’t “eventually” grow out of their sleep problems. “More than 40% of infants who have sleep disorders at the age 8 months also have sleep disorders at age 3 years.(Zuckerman B et al. 1987).  According to another study, “84% of infants who suffered sleep disorders at the age of 15-48 months had these findings by the age of 3 years, while only 3% of infants without the signs of sleep problems at initial inspection were found to have these problems at 3 years.” (Kataria S et al. 1987)

My own (completely unscientific) study would confirm these studies. With the toddlers and young children I’ve worked with (15 months – age 6), I can’t remember one child that didn’t also have a history of sleep challenges as a baby.

Again, I promise I don’t say this to make you feel worse. I know it may seem really discouraging if you have a baby who won’t sleep. I certainly wish I had known this with my oldest son and his sleep struggles. Not focusing and resolving his sleep challenges while he was a baby is one of my biggest parenting regrets. I also see it almost daily with the families that I work with. I’ve heard over and over “I thought they would grow out of it but he’s 2.5 now and still waking up multiple times a night. I’m so exhausted and at my wits end.”

I say it because I don’t want you to struggle for years on end, especially if there are things you can do about it now.

Improved sleep doesn’t have to mean “sleep training” or CIO

I promise that it’s not the ONLY answer. There are so many factors involved in sleep and the first step is always to figure out the cause of the sleep challenge first. Often, the basics of sleep science are completely opposite to common sense. A prime example would be; “My 18-month-old doesn’t fall asleep until late and wakes up multiple times a night. He obviously doesn’t need as much sleep and we’re going to cut out his naps so that he sleeps better at night.”

I hear those words constantly, whether from families I work with or in parenting groups on Facebook.  It would make common sense that if a little one is not sleeping at night that keeping them up in the day would help. Reality (and science) says, the opposite is true.

When babies and toddlers (and adults) are overtired, their little bodies produce stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. When these stress hormones flood the system, it gives them a second wind, causing them to fight going to sleep, sleep more restlessly and wake up sooner.

Have you noticed that you kept your toddler up later than usual and thought; “They’ve had an extra exhausting day. I’m sure they’ll sleep well tonight and hopefully sleep in later in the morning.”  What typically happens? They can wake up more often and wake at the same time, or even earlier.  That’s due to the stress hormones.

FREE help is on the way!

This week I’ll be releasing a new FREE video “How to help your little one sleep better, WITHOUT sleep training.” The video will give you tools that you can implement immediately to help your baby, toddler or young child sleep better.

Keep an eye out on our Facebook page for more details. Also, if you have a toddler, check out today’s weekly “Your Sleep Questions Answered” video, where I answer several questions from tired parents and their toddler sleep challenges. If you have your own sleep question that you’d like me to answer, just submit it here.


Meet Mary!

Mary Foster is a certified sleep consultant and founder of Sleepy Lambs Sleep Consulting and the popular Sleepy Lambs Sleep Academy. She had 3 little ones in 3 years (along with an international move at 7 months pregnant with #3, which just means she’s a little crazy and adventurous). Her little “lambs” keep her busy, with her oldest just turned 6, middle one almost 5 and the youngest is almost 3.

Mary is Canadian and is based in Surrey, UK, near the Hampshire and Berkshire border. She has supported hundreds of families in 11 countries. Mary’s unique approach is always holistic and focuses on emotional wellness, always respectful of parenting choices. Click here to send her an email.

03/01/2017

Interested in a FREE Sleep Video?

Are you interested in learning how to help your little one sleep better but aren’t interested in traditional sleep training? Would you like to learn more? What if it’s completely FREE?

I’m thinking of putting out a video “How to help your baby or toddler sleep better WITHOUT sleep training.”

The video will give you the tools to help your newborn, baby, toddler or young child sleep better, EVEN if you have zero interest in sleep training. The video will be comprehensive, about 60-90 minutes long. I’ll let you in on a few of my secrets!

If you’re interested, head over to our Facebook page and LIKE, COMMENT, TAG A FRIEND OR SHARE the post. Or… Love Instagram?  Follow us and ❤ the post, or comment with a 😊. Or… Into tweeting? Follow us on Twitter and ❤ , RT or reply I’ll be sure to put the video together ASAP.

With sleep, the approach MUST be entirely holistic. Most of all, working with parenting preferences, age, health and as well as the child’s temperament is essential. If you want to help your newborn, baby, toddler or young child get the healthy sleep they need, start with the basics. It’s amazing how a few simple changes can make an amazing difference to sleep, even if you feel like you’ve tried EVERYTHING.

As parents, we’re just not born knowing it all. When you start with the fundamentals, it’s similar to building a house with a solid foundation. The foundation is essential or it’s like building on shaky ground.

This FREE video will give you the tools you need to make a difference.  So, head over to our social media pages now and let’s get started on a year of great sleep!


Meet Mary!

Mary Foster is a certified sleep consultant and founder of Sleepy Lambs Sleep Consulting and the popular Sleepy Lambs Sleep Academy. She had 3 little ones in 3 years (along with an international move, which just means she’s a little crazy and adventurous). Her little “lambs” keep her busy, with her oldest just turned 6, middle one almost 5 and the youngest is almost 3.

Mary is Canadian and is based in Surrey, UK, near the Hampshire and Berkshire border. She has supported hundreds of families in 11 countries. Mary’s unique approach is always holistic and focuses on emotional wellness, always respectful of parenting choices. Click here to send her an email.

02/01/2017

Answering Your Sleep Questions!

Ready for 2017? If you’re like many parents, you’re ready to start the year off and get back into the routine. Sleep can really suffer over the holiday season. Extra travel, illness, visitors, late nights, extra sugar, and a lot of excitement can cause a lot of regressions.

Giving You The Answers To Your Sleep Questions!

Each Monday I’ll be answering your sleep questions. If you have a question, just click here to submit it!

Whether you have a toddler not sleeping, a baby waking up constantly, a little one starting off the day when it’s still the middle of the night, I’ll answer your questions and give you ideas on how to make a few changes, always focused on your little one’s emotional well-being.

It’s amazing how just a little direction can make a difference. Sometimes what your little one is doing is entirely age-appropriate too.

Send me your sleep questions and let’s make 2017 about great sleep! Just check out our Facebook page or our blog and you’ll see the answers.


Meet Mary!

Mary Foster is a certified sleep consultant and founder of Sleepy Lambs Sleep Consulting and the popular Sleepy Lambs Sleep Academy. She had 3 little ones in 3 years (along with an international move) and her little “lambs” keep her busy, with her oldest just turned 6, middle one almost 5 and the youngest is almost 3.

Mary is Canadian and is based in Surrey, UK, near the Hampshire and Berkshire border, and has supported hundreds of families in 11 countries to date. Mary’s unique approach is always holistic and focuses on emotional wellness, always respectful of parenting choices. Click here to send her an email.

10/12/2016

7 Tips For Surviving Sleep Over The Holidays With Babies & Young Children

The holiday season is in full swing and it can be so magical as a parent of babies and young children! Seeing friends, visiting relatives, travel, parties, goodies, excitement, gifts and anticipation!  As wonderful as it all can be, it can also take a toll on many little ones. Here are a few tips to enjoy the holiday season with your little ones.

Why the holiday struggle?

Babies and children thrive on routines and schedules. They love knowing what comes next and are frequently much calmer with the predictability.

Have you ever noticed that toddlers and young children love reading the same book over and over again or watch their favourite movie, TV show or listen to the same song 738 times in a row but love it more each time? It provides little ones with comfort, knowing what’s coming next. They feel empowered because most of their lives is dictated to them.

The holiday season often throws comforting routines out the window.  The result can be overtired babies and children, extra tantrums, and less sleep for everyone.  Add in a cold or illness, and it can be really tough.

So, what can you do?  Well, if your little one is really struggling, look at their schedule for the last few days or even weeks. It will probably tell you the answer.

Focus on wake windows

It’s easy to get distracted and suddenly realise that your little one has been awake for too long. When little ones are overtired their bodies produce cortisol – the stress hormone, which causes your little one to fight going to sleep, sleep more restlessly and wake up sooner. By getting your little one to nap or bed on time – when she needs it, you can help prevent the overtired behaviour that ensues.

Earlier bedtime

Have you noticed that even with a later bedtime, your little one is still getting up at their usual time? It would be nice if a later bedtime meant a later morning but for the most part, this isn’t the case. If you can, make bedtime as consistent as possible to your normal schedule and stick to your normal routine – even if you’re away from home.

Make it loud!

Expecting guests or travelling? Adding some white (or pink) noise to be played for the duration of night sleep and naps can make a huge difference to sleep for babies and young children.  White or pink noise provides a consistent sleep environment and drowns out other noises that may wake your little one.  Whether it’s the “prancing and pawing of each little hoof” from Santa’s reindeer, Aunt Ella’s loud laugh, or that creaky floor board that you know to avoid but your guests don’t, you won’t have to “shushh” guests in fear of waking the baby and the consistent noise. Just be sure to play it for the duration of night sleep or naps!

Limit sugar, especially before bed

It’s hard with so many delicious treats around (guilty here!) but many children are sensitive to sugar and it can have a major effect on behaviour and sleep. If you think this is the case for your little one, limit sugar in the last few hours before bed. This includes drinks, even unsweetened juices.

Respond with empathy

If your little one has been struggling, it’s easy to get frustrated. When you’re out or you have guests, it can be especially frustrating, especially if you know he’s capable and usually displays better behaviour. You little one is not behaving this way on purpose. The behaviour is likely a direct result of the change in routine and that’s not his fault. He just may be struggling to cope with it. Some babies and children are more sensitive to these changes than others.

Responding with empathy is always a winner. Acknowledge his feelings; “It’s been really busy lately and it’s so exciting during the holidays. I know I’m excited too. It’s easy to feel really tired or overwhelmed.”  You may find your toddler or young child responds with a release of emotions.  That’s okay. It’s fine to lovingly hold him and let him cry and get that release that comes from a big cry.

Focus on the relationship

It’s easy to get busy shopping, wrapping, baking and entertaining and not have as much time to focus on your little one as much as usual. Spend some “special time” together, even for 5 minutes 1-2 times a day where you are completely focused on your child and doing something they want you to do. It doesn’t need to take long but it can make a HUGE difference in behaviours.

It WILL pass

The holiday season doesn’t last forever. Find whatever days and evenings you can that keep your normal routine in order and get back into your normal routine as quickly as possible. Consistency is the key to getting back on track.

Best wishes for a very healthy and happy holiday season!


Mary Foster is a certified infant, child & maternity sleep consultant, entrepreneur and mum of 3 little ones. She’s a proud Canadian, living in Surrey, England. She’s the founder of Sleepy Lambs Sleep Consulting and the very popular Sleepy Lambs Sleep Academy. She’s passionate about supporting parents and helping newborns, babies, toddlers and young children learn to sleep better with a strong focus on emotional health and wellness.